The BeoutQ channel has been broadcasting every match of the World Cup tournament so far
The Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) has joined Fifa in a major row over a Saudi TV channel that the football authorities claim is illegally streaming World Cup matches, reports Independent.
The BeoutQ channel has been broadcasting every match of the World Cup tournament so far, despite Fifa claiming that it has not given it the rights.
Last week, Fifa said it was aware that BeoutQ was illegally broadcasting the opening matches of the 2018 World Cup.
Uefa claimed that the channel illegally distributed the Champions League and Europa League throughout the 2017-18 season.
In a statement, Uefa strongly condemned all unauthorized broadcasting and illegal streaming activity.
"Uefa considers that illegal piracy of live football, particularly on the scale of that being carried out by BeoutQ poses a significant threat to European football," the statement said.
Fifa's earlier statement read: "Fifa takes infringement of its intellectual property very seriously and is exploring all options to stop the infringement of its rights, including in relation to action against legitimate organizations that are seen to support such illegal activities."
BeoutQ channel’s response to Fifa’s statement was described as "goading" by a spokesperson for BeIN. It said: "Don't worry – leave us in the driving seat and enjoy the games."
African football federation, Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF), also criticized the BeoutQ World Cup streams.
"An entity called BeoutQ has put in place a major piracy operation against beIN Media Group," CAF said.
"In this regard, CAF strongly condemns the practice of the audiovisual piracy of sports events, a real scourge for our industry. CAF is determined to take all necessary against BeoutQ if any of CAF matches is pirated."
The pirate channel has also been accused of stealing World Cup content from American broadcasters NBC Universal.
"We take intellectual property infringement seriously," NBC Universal said, adding that it is working with Fifa to protect its rights.